Sunday, January 29, 2006

Text messages arrived:

Training is going well. Please pray for my Japanese brother who has much trouble with English.

V. tired. So many sessions. Culture adapting, safety, did practical firefighting today. Extinguishers and all. We are in amazing holiay resort. Lovely food. Huge chalets. Is good but all just want to get to the ship. We need to do this to get our seamen crew certificates though. 3 more written exams. Did 1, was not too hard. Need sleep. Good night.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Text messages received Saturday 11pm:

Arrived. One girl had accident w/ escalater and luggage. Sprained ankle, bruised ribs. German esclators take trolleys. her brakes were dead. Will be fine by end of week. otherwise safe.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

man.. so busy. we leave here at 8am on saturday. The Logos2 people leave at 5am!!! flights. evil. so gotta pack and do last laundry and stuff tonight probably. tomorrow there is no early afternoon session, so i plan to do some more packing then.

hey, about the weight allowance, God is good, and we have a nice miracle. we can take 30 kg each! cool, eh? Mind you, we are supposed to take not quite so much hand luggage (mine was about 12 or something before, I think?) so what I will do, I think, is leave my sleeping bag to come with the next container (March), and perhaps a few things like that, and then put my old clarinet in my main luggage. That will help a lot.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

We've been doing a lot about personality type and working as a group and all this week, using mainly the "4 temperaments" system. I scored highest (surprise, surprise) as "Harmoniser". A lot of this is very well known to me, because of doing so much Myers-Briggs type stuff at home so many times. But it has been good, and many others are learning loads of stuff and realising a lot about team dynamics and all. Yeah.

We're all beginning to get even more excited about leaving in a few days time. There are quite a few juggler type people (stilt-walkers, and all sorts!) so it will really be cool on the ship, and at pre-ship, with all the stuff.

Friday, January 13, 2006

It snowed! Germany is so beautiful, and snow makes everything look

Conference is going well. It is amazing meeting all these people, and learning so much about what God is doing around the world. Meeting people from every continent going to every other continent.

Had a time today looking at all the different places where they need workers, seeing what they do, and met up with some people from a training centre in the UK who are praying for a drama person to come along and start doing full time drama ministry, teaching sessions with their students, but also putting together professional level productions, and taking them to schools and churches around the country.

It's a place we visited in October, and I didn't really feel very inspired by them then, as it seemed to be training all just by lectures, but speaking with the guys today, they said they are slowing trying to revise the system there and make it more interactive, not so lecture oriented, and really want to make the arts a priority. That could be interesting to do in a few years time, after the ship, maybe. I have their contact information, and will be praying about it. We shall see.

The group from Germany had a whole load of juggling equipment and stuff lying around too at this time, everyone was milling around, looking at different places like a market. Many people were playing with the juggling stuff, so I picked up a set of balls, and did a bit of practice, and then the German rep asked if I could be bribed not to go to the ship, and if they gave me lots of German chocolate, would I stay in Germany! Rather cool....

This evening we had a long session looking at the history of the organisation, seeing how it all began, and had phone-calls with some of the longest working people. Amazing.

God has used and is using so many people to do so many things, it is kind of mind-blowing.

Anyway, it is a very busy schedule, so I do not know if I will get time to post much during the conference. The first session starts at 8:45am, and the day ends at about 9:30pm. Although there are breaks, there is not enough time to get back to the hostel and back.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Arrived safely, at last. The flight was uneventful, which is good. Only problem was that they were playing Christmas songs throughout the whole flight. And they only had about 15 minutes worth of recorded songs, so they repeated, and repeated, and repeated...

Frankfurt airport is huge. Kind of confusing too, you have to go miles to find things, like baggage collection. And You see a big sign for it, follow along for a while, and suddenly all the signs are gone, you ask someone, and in fact you are on the right path, but there are just no signs. Everyone spoke good English though.

I found the Fernbahnhof (long distance train station), got my ticket and all. At the actual platform, there was another train sitting there, which had loads of officials wandering about it, and firemen, and so forth. So we stood around, 70 or so people who wanted the train, and I, for about half an hour or more waiting. Eventually, there was some kind of announcement, and we all got told to go to the next platform (up an escalator, along, and down), and get on a different train. My bag is so heavy! I may try and lighten it for the flight to the ship, by wearing heavier clothing and all.

This train got us there, and when we got to Manheim, where I had to change trains, I followed my ticket instructions, and went to the right platform no, and waited. The train turned up, a bit later than it said on the Ticket, but I thought "OK, so everything is delayed today". I got on, and off we went.

About half an hour later, or perhaps more, I started thinking that the station names looked wrong. So I tried to find a map. I found one, on a wall, and examined it. Indeed, we had been going in the right direction, but were now on the way to Worms! So I got off at the next station, found another map, found which train I needed, and headed back to some place which was on the right route. Then I changed trains again, and was now avidly checking the map and the "Näschte Station" sign things.

After a while I heard some people talking in English. Then I heard them mention a conference, and when I was sure they were also coming for this, I went and said hi. One of them is just here for the conference to help cook, and the other is going on to another part of the world. We all got off the train at the right station, and it was a good thing I went and said hi, as neither of them had a map of how to get from the station! So we headed off together, found the right place, and checked in. It turns out we were all staying in the Youth Hostel, which is about 5 minutes drive from the base. We met a few other people who had already arrived, and had dinner.

The rooms at the youth hostel are really good. There are four beds to a room (two bunk-beds), and so far there are only two of us in here. More may turn up later, I guess.

I went and explored the base today as well. It is also very beautiful. The whole of this town is really lovely, with a river, many paths to walk, lots of countryside, and trees. There is a little snow on the ground in places, but it is not everywhere. Apparently it is going to snow this week. That would be really cool. Literally. And I haven't actually seen any snow in so long.

I've met quite a few more people so far, but most people have not arrived yet. I haven't met anyone who is going to join the ships, actually. Hopefully I will soon. The conference all looks like it will be good. There is Wireless internet access in the whole base, which costs €5 euros (for the whole conference). There is also a "internet café", which costs €1 euro per 15 mins. Apparently they introduced this because before many people were blocking the actual computers for too long.

This afternoon I will do some clarinet practice, work a bit more on my German fluency (ha!), and then go back to the base to send email. I'll probably then come back here to leave my laptop, and then go back to the base (again) for the meal and start of the conference.

It is quite cold, outside. Enough that I am glad of my hat, coat, and gloves. The hat is really good.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Messages recieved from Dan's mobile, German time:

3pm: Arrived safely. Have bags, am going to train station.

5.30pm: Late trains. 1 more hour. i think. Weather not too cold. And trains are warm.

8.30pm: Am safe at hostel, after food.

Waiting in the queue for 'Cyprus Air' to check in the baggage, before flying from Larnaka airport to Frankfurt.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

In 12 hours, I shall, God willing, be on the flight from Cyprus. Scary.

It kind of feels unreal, and weird. Last summer, it all happened so suddenly, and it felt much smaller. This time, many people will have left the country by the time I get back in 2 years, so I am saying goodbye for perhaps the last time, or at least the last time in years and years.

My cat is sitting on my lap as I type this. She knows I am going away. Has been very disturbed all week, with me packing and all. Doesn't know what to do. I hope she is OK.

My digestive system is all messed up, I feel all squirmy inside my stomach area, and just generally feel weird. Exactly how I feel before the premiere of a new show.

Ach well. Today was a good day. Said my farewell in the Sunday church gathering. God prayed for (whoo!!), and said goodbye to so many people. Had so many people shake my hand and say how happy they were to see me go. So many people hug me and say they would miss me.

Met up yesterday with another friend who juggles, we hadn't met up for months, and did some juggling and diabolo on the beach. Then went for coffee and beer on the seafront. He will be in the Cyprus army (they still have conscription here) while I am on the ship, and will be coming out a few months after I come back, so we can meet up again then.

So many things. I dunno.

I need to go get some sleep.

Please pray that the airport people are not too strict about luggage weight. And that I get there correctly and safely.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

The nurseries in Cyprus have cartoon characters painted on their walls. I was quite surprised when I saw this though:

The inescapable tux!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

I changed the background slightly, made it a bit lighter, mum said it was too distracting while reading long posts.

I forgot to mention I'm learning to cook now. Yesterday or so did spagetti, which I love, and which is hardly ever served on the Doulos. And tonight made a lemon merengue pie with mum. I love those too. And again, didn't see many of them while on the ship this summer either. So for all you people thinking about following my bold example and setting sail, learn to cook whatever really lovely foods you want, so that occasionally you can cook them in one of the mini-galleys on board. And because I gave you this hint, you can share it with me. Remember I'm vegetarian, though.

PS - I'll post a picture of the merengue tomorrow or something.
Today I had the last of the vaccinations I am having here in Cyprus. I really don't like vaccinations. I also found out that I am blood group O+, apparently. Kind of strange, as we all thought I would be A+. Some friends of ours introduced us to the "Eat Right 4 Your Type" bloodtype/diet theory a few years ago, and our family seemed to fit it. My dad (O+) prefers meats, and seems to do well on them, and my mum (A+) prefers veg, and white meats, and seems to do well on them. My brother and I, we didn't know our bloodtypes, but as he is a meat person, and I am a vegitarian, we guessed perhaps he was O+ and me A+. Anyway. All rather confusing.

I also went and got my eyes tested, and my old glasses fixed. One of the "arms" had fallen off, and although Dad had glued it back, the spring was gone, and they kept falling off my face. Also one of the rubber feet things for the nose had fallen off. But they are fixed now. The optician will have a new pair of glasses ready for me this evening, as well as a new hard case for my old glasses, and a spare hard case. To join the ship, I need to take 2 pairs of glasses, according to one of the random pieces of documentation they gave me.

That's about all the news at the moment...